Blog Post: Interview With Zakee Shariff, October 2008

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Behind the Brand: Zakee for Asos

Judging by your comments, you’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our Zakee for asos collection, so we’re pleased to let you know that it’s finally here! Zakee herself joined us on the collection’s shoot recently and so, nosy so-and-sos that we are, we popped down to the studio to find out more about it. Here’s what she had to say…

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First things first, we absolutely love the collection, Zakee! Tell us how you got into fashion…

Well, my folks are in manufacturing and my mum used to be a fashion designer, so I kind of grew up with it. I had decided that I didn’t want to get involved in fashion, but slowly I started doing more and more work. Then a good friend of mine called Jimmy, who owns a menswear collection called YMC, said “you should start your own collection”, and he really helped me out a lot. So that was the start of my journey in fashion.

Your designs are known for being really colourful and fun – what is it that inspires you?

Travel, music, meditation and street culture.

The street culture element is obviously a big influence in your work, not just the fashion side of things but also the art and design aspect too. Which creative outlet do you prefer?

I’d probably say that fine art is my first love because I love to draw. I can draw in both the design and the art side of what I do, but I think the inspiration for all the work I do always comes from the art side.

With the Zakee for asos collection, how did you tailor your signature look to the asos girl?

Well, I kinda thought that the asos girl is very sexy and likes a lot of colour, so I upped my use of colour and my prints. But I’ve always thought of my Zakee girl as being fun-loving and sexy and colourful too, so I just put the two together and thought about what would make someone feel strong and confident.

We noticed that all the pieces in the collection start with the letter ‘F’ – Frankie, Frances, Fifi, and so on. Any reason for this?

It’s a really boring, logical reason. Basically, for every collection I’ve done for somebody else, I’ve started with a letter from the alphabet, beginning at ‘A’ and so on…

Well, we’re sure you’ll be at ‘Z’ in no time! On a personal note, are there any celebs in particular that you’d like to see in the collection?

No-one specifically, although there’s two girlfriends of mine I reckon would definitely be up for it – Sharleen Spiteri and Lauren Laverne. I reckon they’d both want to wear it and I’ll be making sure that they have some of it!

Ooh, we’ll keep our eyes peeled! How have you enjoyed today’s shoot and seeing your pieces on our model?

I’ve loved it. I always really love seeing the clothes on a girl because it teaches me about my work – like I noticed today that a top needed to be lengthened a bit – so it teaches me something different, something that you don’t necessarily see when you’re fitting or sketching.

And finally, what would your top tips for getting dressed be?

Accessorise! It gives you your individuality.

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